World’s Largest Gorilla Preserved by New Art of Sculpturdermy (Jan, 1938)
I love how these people kill an animal and then talk about how they have “brought it to life”. Check out the last page in this pictorial. It is really bizarre.
World’s Largest Gorilla Preserved by New Art of Sculpturdermy
In the Remarkable Series of Pictures Reproduced on these Pages, You See How Sculpture and Taxidermy Were Combined To Re-Create a Rare Animal Specimen
AMAZINGLY lifelike, the mounted body of the world’s largest gorilla, a 500-pound giant, is being put on exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences, in Philadelphia, Pa. The enormous brute, together with its mate and baby, were bagged by a recent West African expedition led by George Vanderbilt, New York sportsman and explorer. The delicate work of mounting the gorillas was accomplished at the Jonas Brothers Studios, in Mt. Vernon, N. Y. On these four pages, you find pictured the successive steps, combining sculpture and taxidermy, which “brought to life” the jungle family. As an initial step, the experts assembled the bones of the skeleton by means of wires and steel rods. On this framework, Louis Jonas modeled the body of the brute in clay. Coating this with a lubricant, he applied successive layers of plaster of Paris. After this mold was dry, it was removed in sections and into each part an assistant pressed layer after layer of wet paper which dried to form a light, tough, papier-mache body, the parts of which were glued and nailed together.
Before the skin was put in place, the papier-mache was coated with a flexible plaster containing nine secret ingredients. This material remains plastic for a considerable time and enables the taxidermists to press and pinch the skin into the wrinkles and lines which give the finished work its amazing realism. The technique which has been developed at the Mt. Vernon studios is called sculpturdermy.
Scientists who have examined the Vanderbilt gorilla estimate it is thirty-five years old. It stands six feet high and, with both arms extended, has a reach of fully nine feet. Its neck is twenty-eight inches in circumference and its chest measures sixty-eight inches, contracted, and seventy-eight, expanded. Surprisingly little is known about the life of gorillas. They are shy vegetarians, dwelling in the deep forests and soon dying in captivity.